GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Anytime there are smoke and flames coming from the state park, there is concern — but this time there is a good reason for it.
Fire and Gulf State Park have a long, charred history. A fire Monday was intentionally set to help the park not hurt it.
“What our main goal is is to essentially reduce the amount of vegetative fuel in the area,” says Ricky Fields with the Alabama Forestry Commission.
Almost 300 acres were part of the controlled burn east of Highway 135 including marsh areas and woodlands near the eagle’s nest. “For years this place has been without fire which has caused several issues; forest health issues and endangering local communities,” Fields said.
With a helicopter overhead with a load of water just in case, the fire-dependent habitat is getting what it needs to make it safer and eventually healthier according to park naturalist Kelly Reetz. “It opens it up so sunlight can reach the forest floor, get some grasses growing back in here instead of muscadine vines and makes it pretty too.”